Mastering SMS for Gen Z Engagement

Mastering SMS for Gen Z Engagement

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Gen Z
    • Evolution of Consumer Experiences
    • Connected and Empowered Consumers
    • Characteristics of Gen Z
  3. The Importance of Moments
    • Customer Life Cycle
    • Defining Moments
  4. Building a Successful SMS Strategy
    • The POST Framework
    • Considerations for SMS Programs
    • Examples of Successful SMS Programs
  5. Conclusion


In today's consumer-driven market, businesses need to adapt and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of their customers. One demographic that has significantly influenced these expectations is Gen Z, the mobile consumer generation. This article will explore how businesses can build a successful SMS (Short Message Service) strategy to effectively engage with consumers in the mobile channel.

Understanding Gen Z

Evolution of Consumer Experiences

Consumer experiences have transformed rapidly in recent years, driven by factors such as the digital revolution, emerging technologies, and shifting cultural norms. These changes have led to escalating customer expectations for seamless and intuitive access to content, communications, and services across various touchpoints and channels. Retail giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Meta, and Google have further amplified this digital disruption.

Connected and Empowered Consumers

Gen Z, born in 1997 or later, has grown up in this connected and empowered age. They are comfortable navigating the blurred boundaries between offline and online experiences and expect interactions with brands to be on their own terms. Gen Z consumers value immediacy, relevance, and convenience in their interactions with brands.

Characteristics of Gen Z

Gen Z, often referred to as the "omni-channel authorities," have never known a world without instant, on-demand access to goods, services, entertainment, and information. As digital natives, they are adept at using smartphones and prefer texting or using messaging interfaces for communication. Understanding the characteristics and preferences of Gen Z is essential for building successful marketing programs, including SMS strategies.

The Importance of Moments

Effective marketing strategies rely on identifying and capitalizing on key moments when customers interact with a brand to fulfill their immediate needs. These moments span the customer life cycle, from discovery to engagement and loyalty. Companies must deliver relevant experiences and content in these moments to drive customer satisfaction and business success.

Customer Life Cycle

The customer life cycle consists of six stages: discovery, exploration, purchase, usage, support, and engagement. Each stage represents an opportunity to engage with customers and create memorable experiences. Successful SMS strategies leverage these moments throughout the customer journey to capture and retain customers.

Defining Moments

Moments occur at specific points in time and space when a person interacts with a brand. A successful moment is immediate and contextually relevant, delivering what the customer wants at that particular time. These moments can include advertising, influencing, sales, product usage, customer service, and loyalty interactions. The cumulative effect of these moments shapes the overall customer experience.

Building a Successful SMS Strategy

To build a successful SMS strategy, businesses must follow the POST framework: People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology.


Understanding the target audience is crucial when developing an SMS strategy. Businesses need to determine if their customer base is interested in SMS communication and if it aligns with their preferences and characteristics. Identifying the internal resources responsible for managing the SMS program is also essential.


Businesses should establish clear objectives aligned with their broader marketing goals. Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure success is critical to evaluate the effectiveness of the SMS program. Additionally, businesses must identify how SMS will add value to their overall marketing mix.


Developing a strategy involves determining the content to deliver via SMS, identifying the appropriate timing for sending messages, and understanding why customers need to be reached via SMS. The strategy should consider the unique characteristics and preferences of the target audience and align with the moments that matter to them.


Selecting the right technology solutions is the final step in building an SMS program. Businesses need to choose the necessary tools to execute their strategy effectively. The technology should support the desired customer experience and enable personalized, relevant, and timely SMS interactions.

Considerations for SMS Programs

While SMS offers numerous benefits, businesses must consider potential challenges and pitfalls. SMS can be interruptive and disruptive if not used responsibly. It requires careful segmentation and targeting to deliver relevant messages. Obtaining customer phone numbers requires providing a compelling reason for them to share their personal information. Businesses must also continuously monitor their unsubscribe rates to ensure that customers receive messages they find valuable.

Examples of Successful SMS Programs

Several brands have effectively implemented SMS strategies to engage with their customers and drive business growth.

  • Ax Paris: Ax Paris used various opt-in experiences to grow its SMS subscriber base by 100,000 in one month. By tailoring messages to different store locations and geography, Ax Paris achieved a 55x return on investment (ROI) during Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns.

  • Dossier: Dossier migrated to a new SMS solution to unlock unique customer data, allowing for more personalized experiences. Leveraging targeted flows and triggered messages, Dossier achieved over 20% revenue from SMS marketing and a 151% growth in subscriber collection.

  • Em Cosmetics: Em Cosmetics focused on building engaging and visual SMS experiences to capture customer attention. By emphasizing two-way conversations and leveraging visual content, they achieved a 57x ROI from SMS engagements and a 28% increase in revenue from SMS marketing.

  • Princess Polly: Princess Polly targeted Gen Z customers and tailored its engagement throughout the customer life cycle. By segmenting customers based on loyalty program tiers and delivering personalized messages, Princess Polly saw over a 10x higher ROI on SMS engagements and a 64x ROI on the overall program.

These examples highlight the importance of understanding customer preferences, tailoring messages to specific moments, and delivering personalized and relevant SMS experiences.


Building a successful SMS strategy requires a deep understanding of customers, their preferences, and the key moments that matter to them. By following the POST framework and considering the unique characteristics of Gen Z consumers, businesses can create SMS programs that drive engagement, loyalty, and business growth. Leveraging customer data, personalization, and targeted messaging can help businesses deliver captivating experiences that meet the evolving needs and expectations of mobile consumers.

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